Look back and smile.

I’m a pen and paper kind of girl.

My calendar, planner and daily to do lists are all handwritten.

My clients (especially my corporate and organizational clients) find it rather amusing that I schedule our sessions in writing and my kids each know my golden rule:

“If it’s not written down, it doesn’t exist”.

This applies to everything from formal arrangements to buying my son new soccer shoes. I don’t rely on my “flawless” memory and so I write everything down. It doesn’t matter how many times they tell me to get something, if it’s not written down, I somehow just won’t remember. Sound familiar?

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If you’ve been to the shops recently, you’ll notice the shelves are overflowing with brand new diaries and calendars for the upcoming year. I always get so excited! It’s like countless moments are quietly sitting patiently – just waiting to be created!

(Needless to mention I was one of those students who couldn’t wait to buy new stationary for the school year and could spend hours in these shops!)

And so during the summer weeks as we prepare to fill these sparkling white pages with wonderful new events, beautiful new dreams and unforgettable new memories, I can’t help but reflect back on the past 12 months before I throw out the old and welcome in the new.

I spend hours working with my clients on time management, productivity and the art of efficiency.

I also spend hours working with my clients on cognitive distortions – the way our brains seem to leave out, generalize and change valuable bits of information which then ultimately shape our perception. (More often, to the negative) It’s so easy to end off a year thinking about what you missed, what you failed at, what didn’t work, where you went wrong, how far you still have to go, what’s not working and that you might not be where you want to be. The list goes on and on.

What’s so incredible and so simple about working with a diary and calendar, is you get the luxury of looking back at everything you did achieve!

You get to look at how far you have come.

You get to track and see your progress and your wins.

You get to see all the effort you made and time you devoted.

You get to recall magical moments and special times.

You get to see how you truly spent your time – with who and doing what.

In fact, if you had to study your diary/planner/calendar – you’ll get great insights as to what’s important to you.

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You can’t turn around and say your health and fitness matters to you if you didn’t make anytime for a workout.

You can’t turn around and say your learning is important to you if you didn’t make any time to study.

You can’t turn around and say your relationships, friendships and family mean the world to you if you haven’t set aside the time to really spend with them.

What does your diary/calendar/planner reflect for you?

Life is hard and despite all the planning, we get thrown tests we didn’t ask for.

These tests may land up requiring huge amounts of our time.

Looking back, I realize more and more the tremendous positive effect of planning and scheduling happy things, enjoyable pleasures, trips and travel, fun days out. We can never predict what’s going to show up in our lives, but if we consciously dedicate time to the things we love and care about, if we chunk time for our goals and our purpose, we can live with intention and truly make each day count. We don’t have to wait to see what kind of day we’re going to have – we get to decide what kind of day were going to have.

As I start to plug in new meetings and exciting opportunities in my new diary and calendar, I thought it would be worthwhile sharing this idea with you.

Make a list of the things you really want to accomplish this year in any area of your life. Slowly start to write them down. Even 1 thing a month gives you 12 amazing days to look forward to. And while our mind might play with cognitive distortions and often recall the negative, a year from now you’ll have 12 magical memories to celebrate and look back on with huge gratitude.

Despite the most difficult months I’ve endured, there are so many awesome days in my diary and my calendar that warm my heart and make me smile.

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